I've been a volunteer teacher at San Quentin State Prison for about nine years (I started a couple days after I turned 22). Naturally, I'm extremely familiar with the "dress code"--no denim, no open-toed shoes, nothing sleeveless, no orange, etc. etc. I've never been turned away from the prison for what I was wearing . . . until tonight.
Each Monday night, I have to face an extremely rude prison guard at the East Gate, where I enter the prison. He inspects my license (even though he has seen me for years & years), grunts, and hands me my prison identification card. My theories:
1. He is sexist.
2. He is miserable.
3. He hates volunteers and teachers because he figures we're all convict sympathizers.
In any case, tonight, when I stepped out of my car, he barked, "What are you wearing? You can't wear that!" I looked genuinely confused, as I was dressed conservatively. He mumbled something about my "tights," said, "Don't wear it again," and shuffled off to retrieve my prison ID.
But I had questions. Because this is what I was wearing (I stopped at Target on the way home for two reasons--to buy wine and to take this picture, so that I could send it to the powers that be at the prison):
super slutty, right??
So I said, "Officer ****, I don't understand--" and he cut me off and yelled, "YOU DON'T NEED TO UNDERSTAND!" And yet, I did need to understand, because I come in every week, and I can't afford to be sent home each Monday. I spend an hour commuting and a $5 toll to volunteer. We started a brand new quarter last week, and I had lots of new students . . . now, they're going to think I just decided not to show up for class tonight. I was enraged.
After I challenged him, he told me that I couldn't teach my class. Said, "You're not coming in tonight. Go home. BYE." Obviously, this infuriated me, and I told him he was being an asshole and leveraging his power inappropriately, and that I was going to contact the warden immediately. We shouted at each other for a few heated seconds before I sped off in a fit of rage.
Almost nothing angers me more than abuse of power. You better believe I fired off an email to a few folks at the prison right away, with this picture attached.
Have you ever been disrespected this way? If so, enlighten me: how do you deal with it without losing your shit? My temper is my Achilles heel. I've got to learn to deal with injustice without going all savage on people. Cause even though he deserved it (and he damn sure deserved it), it didn't really get me anywhere.
Any funny news, jokes, or links would be especially appreciated today. Sigh.